Title: Broken Places
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 10 (2015)
Category: Established Relationship, AU, Angst, Fluff, Romance, Amnesia, Aaron and Spencer Should Just Talk,
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Spoilers: Up through Season 10
Summary: Aaron has lived with Spencer for three years. They have been dating for five. Yet it seems that Aaron has missed something important and Spencer has just never brought it up. Adoption papers just blow the whole thing open and not in a good way.
Notes: Beth and Maeve never happened. This takes place sometime near the end of the season but before Mr. Scratch.
Aaron entered the hospital room, fear invading his entire body. He pulled back the curtain, the doctor right behind him. He gasped when he saw the body lying on the bed.
“Is that Spencer?” the doctor asked and all Aaron could do was nod. “He’s doing fine. Right now we have him in a coma while the swelling in his brain goes down. Thankfully the only other serious injury is his broken arm. He was lucky, whoever mugged him wasn’t trying to harm him other than knock him out to take his wallet.”
“I’m sure they were shocked when he didn’t have much money on him. That’s probably why they broke his arm.”
“He doesn’t carry much cash?”
“He doesn’t carry much of anything. We had a fight and he grabbed his wallet but his wallet doesn’t have his cards or much cash in it, just civilian ID and maybe fifty in cash. Those he keeps in here.” Aaron showed him Spencer’s credentials. The doctor smiled. Aaron peeked at her name because for the life of him, he couldn’t remember what she had told him. Doctor Jane White. “His credentials were in the bedroom along with his keys.”
“I’ll contact his regular…”
“Contact the Bureau doctors. They have his complete file. I’ll give you the contact information for the lady that will get you what you need.” When the doctor handed over the clipboard, Aaron jotted down Garcia’s information. He’d need to call her first. It was a Saturday morning and the team hopefully was rested. He doubted that many of them were going to sleep until Spencer woke up. His first call was to Cruz, telling him what had happened from the moment the fight started to waking up this morning in a blind panic. Garcia had been his first call and she’d been the one to find the John Doe at GWU Hospital. He wouldn’t be shocked if she was on her way.
“Thank you, Agent Hotchner.” Doctor White said before she turned to leave. Aaron waved as she left, listening to Cruz tell him that until Spencer woke up the team was on stand down. They could work consults and cold cases. Aaron was thankful. Cruz was also going to keep on MPD until his muggers were found.
“Bossman?” Garcia’s voice carried from the doorway. Aaron took a step back to wave her in. She started crying when she saw Spencer on the bed. Aaron pulled her into a hug. “What happened?”
“Mugged. God, he was mugged in the park near here. They hit him so hard there is swelling in his brain. He also has a broken arm. Thankfully he had his medical alert tag in his pocket so they didn’t give him narcotics.”
Garcia just cried harder. It didn’t take long for the rest of the team to arrive. Dave brought Jack with him and all Jack wanted to do was lay down with Spencer. After talking to Doctor White to make sure it would be all right, Jack was tucked into Spencer’s side.
“Let’s go get some coffee,” Dave said as Jack closed his eyes. Aaron nodded. He wasn’t shocked when Morgan followed behind them, leaving JJ, Garcia, and Kate in the room with Spencer. Henry was with a sitter and Will was at MPD headquarters trying to figure out what was known. Now that Spencer had gone from a John Doe to a Federal Agent, his case was going to jump high on a priority list, even if it would make Spencer blush at that.
“What happened? The long story,” Morgan said as he set down a cup of coffee in front of Aaron and then Dave.
Aaron looked at Dave before he answered. “I got the paperwork back for Spencer’s adoption of Jack. I’ve talked with Jessica and she was happy. Roy was very upset but I can’t live my life to make him happy. I mentioned it to Spencer over a year ago but I kept putting it off. Finally I got in touch with my lawyer after Jack asked…” Aaron took a sip of his coffee. “Jack wants to call him Papa. He didn’t want to ask him without asking me first. I wanted to surprise Spencer with the paperwork.”
A group of nurses entered the cafeteria and Aaron waited for them to pass before he started up again.
“Last night after Jack was in bed, we were half listening to a show on TV. We were both lost in a discussion of law that we didn’t notice it had ended and something else started up. The conversation lulled when I went to get refills on tea, Spencer started to watch it. It was about adopted children. I don’t know what possessed me to surprise him then but I went up to the office and grabbed the paperwork from the safe. I handed it to him. He read it over, twice.” Aaron paused. Everyone on the team knew what Spencer reading paperwork twice meant. It was never good. Especially when the second time was at a very slow for a normal person’s pace. “I was so nervous. He slipped the paperwork back into the envelope and closed it back up with the string. He had his thinking face on, I didn’t interrupt him. He turned to me and said ‘There is no way for both of us to be happy tonight.’ It took a minute for it to sink in.”
“Did he explain himself?” Dave asked. Aaron nodded but he could tell from the look on Morgan’s face that the man had an idea of what was said. Aaron stared at Morgan. Finally the younger man nodded.
“Reid’s uncomfortable thinking of himself as anything other than a close uncle to Jack,” Morgan said. Aaron knew there was more to it than that but the agent would want to let Spencer explain it but Aaron wasn’t going to wait for that. His partner was nearly sixteen years younger than him, he could have children of his own. He could find a pretty wife or a husband and have a happy life with them. Aaron’s anger came from the fact that Spencer telling him he wouldn’t sign those papers meant to him that Spencer wasn’t as all in as he was. There was no going back if he signed those papers. He’d be a father, even though he was already one, and he’d never leave his child.
“I took is as rejection. I told him I needed space and that he should come back later. I felt so horrible after. I called him as soon as I figured out that he wasn’t just outside getting air. I never thought he’d take a walk not go into DC proper. I know that Spencer loves Jack. I know the issues with father figures in his life and I just let my own anger cloud what I said. I can’t even remember most of what I said but I am sure that Spencer does.”
“Another reason to hate that memory of his.” Dave’s voice sounded like he’d said it before and Aaron could only nod.
“I fell asleep on the couch waiting for him to come home. When I woke and he hadn’t come in, I called him. His phone went straight to voicemail. Garcia tracked my last call to him to near GWU and then I had her call hospitals. This one was the only one with a John Doe that matched Spencer’s description.” Aaron took a long drink of his coffee. It tasted horrible. He was tempted to add sugar to it. He’d gotten used to tasting sugar as he regularly took sips of Spencer’s in the mornings while waiting for a second pot to be made. He’d never drink it if he had a choice but drinking something sweet would be better than this. He reached out and grabbed two packs of sugar and sweetened his drink before taking another sip. He could at least drink it now. He looked up into the face of one of his oldest friend and found that he was smiling. Aaron just gave him a weak smile back.
“You and he need to talk,” Dave said as he drained the last of his cup of coffee. The frown on his face told him that he didn’t like the coffee that much either.
“No, I need to listen. I didn’t give him enough time last night to explain it all before I jumped to being mad. He’s been living with Jack and I for three years. Last night after he left, I saw it all. Yes, he loves Jack but I don’t think he’s let himself love Jack like a son. He’s happy to live with us but when Jack gets in trouble, he never does anything. I’ve called him Jack’s father in my mind and to others but I don’t think I’ve ever said it to his face. He treats Jack exactly like he does Henry and there is nothing wrong with that but it’s my fault. How can I fuck up that badly and never see it?” Aaron kept tears back but barely. He let his head drop into his hands because he didn’t want anyone seeing his shining eyes.
“He doesn’t want to replace Haley,” Morgan said, his voice rough with emotion. “Jack had another parent that loved him and he doesn’t want to change his memory of her.”
“Loving Spencer isn’t going to replace Haley in Jack’s heart or his mind,” Aaron protested. He didn’t look up though. He was afraid if he saw their faces he would start to cry.
“No, but Hotch you have to remember that he’s never had a constant parental figure. Even before his mom got sicker, his life wasn’t normal. He knows how to care for his mother and that’s it. He was content to let you do all the hard stuff because you never asked for his help.”
“How long?” Aaron asked. He needed to know the answer but he didn’t want to. He was afraid of what was going to come out of Morgan’s mouth.
“You have to understand something. He didn’t come to me to complain. Two years ago, do you remember the night that you stayed home with Jack and Rossi and the rest of us went out?”
Aaron nodded because he did remember that night. Spencer had texted telling him that he was crashing at Morgan’s because he was drunk. Aaron had been shocked when he’d woke up late that next morning and Spencer was already home. He looked like death warmed over and vowed never to get drunk like that again.
“Neither of us got sleep that night. After we got back, Reid asked why mom never remarried or even dated after dad died. From there it moved onto you and then Jack. I don’t think he ever would have talked about it to me if he hadn’t been drunk. It’s the only time he’s ever brought it up and it’s the only time his relationship with you has been brought up by him at all. He talks about happy things. Getting him to talk about anything bad is like pulling teeth and even then he is circumspect. Given that I am his closest friend and we all work on the same team, I don’t know who he talks to about your relationship.”
Aaron wracked his brain and came up with nothing. “But you’ve watched?”
“I think that Jack realized a lot more than you or even Reid. At the last cookout at JJ’s, he always went to Reid to ask to do something or to ask for something. He kept pushing the kid to you. He does the same with Henry. He was happy with what he had. If he wasn’t happy, you better bet that I would have been there fixing it all or getting him out of there. But I think it was being happy with what he thought he was going to get. And you can’t ask him because he can’t remember. I don’t envy you, Hotch. This was something that the two of your probably should have talked about when he moved in but it seems you were both happy with what was and didn’t care about what could be.”
“I need a few minutes.” Aaron waited for the scraping of chair legs on the floor and then the retreating feet. He took Morgan’s words as the threat they were. Spencer was like a little brother to him and he could understand letting Spencer have the space he needed for a relationship and not stepping on toes. Morgan had two sisters.
Doctor White stopped the medicines that were keeping Spencer in a coma just two days later. Jack was sitting on the end of the bed with Henry in his lap and the older boy was reading to both Spencer and Henry. JJ and Morgan were keeping watch with him. Aaron was watching out the window. The soft words from Jack’s mouth lulling him into a near zone out. He almost missed the low moan from a waking Spencer.
“Uncle Pence!” Henry called out. Jack closed the book and Aaron watched as he kept a hold of Henry. Not letting the smaller boy injure Spencer. His broken arm was in a cast but jostling it would still hurt.
“Henry,” Spencer croaked with a smile on his face. JJ moved to his side with a cup of ice chips and spooned some into his mouth. “Thanks, Jayje.”
JJ smiled down at him. Brushing back the hair on his forehead and kissing him.
“What happened?” Spencer looked confused.
“You are at GWU Hospital,” Aaron said as he stepped closer to the bed. He didn’t feel right just reaching out to touch him but Spencer wasn’t reaching out for him either. He wasn’t sure that he liked that.
Spencer closed his eyes for a few seconds and then shook his head. “I don’t remember being on a case…”
“No. You were mugged.” Morgan stepped up closer to the bed and it drew Spencer’s attention to Jack. His eyes looked confused.
The doctor had said that confusion would be normal. Sometimes people never remembered what happened just before passing out after getting a blow to the head like he did. Aaron’s heart stuttered though when Spencer spoke.
“What’s Jack doing here?”
“Where else would he be?” Morgan asked, a smile on his face. Fond exasperation, it was a look everyone on the team had for him when his brain jumped from point A to point D and skipped B and C.
“I understand you, JJ, and Henry but why is Jack sitting on my bed, reading?” Spencer looked at Aaron next. It looked like he wanted to ask another question but was worried about doing so.
“Pretty Boy, what’s your last memory?”
“I was walking in a park.” Spencer closed his eyes again and his face seemed to relax some. “I was upset and I can’t remember why.” Eyes open again he looked at Morgan. “Why aren’t you answering me?”
“I’ll get Doctor White,” Aaron said as he moved out of the room. When he was sure that no one could see him, he stopped and took a few deep breaths. Spencer would be fine. Doctor White rounded the corner a smile on her face.
“Did he wake up?”
“Yes. He does seem to be having some memory issues.”
“I told you that was expected.”
“It seems to be more than that. He wanted to know why Jack was there. He’s been living with Jack and I for three years and he and I were dating for two years before that.” Five years of being around Jack. He didn’t think that the fight had been bad enough to where Spencer didn’t want to be around Jack. This was something more. The younger man was sincerely baffled on why Jack was there.
“And he’s close with Jack?” Doctor White asked.
“He loves him as much as he loves his Godson, Henry who is also in there. He’s barely looked at me. Hasn’t reached…he’s not acting like himself.” Aaron knew he was making little sense.
“I need to talk to him alone. Why don’t you all go down to the cafeteria and I’ll come find you after I talk to him, Agent Hotchner.”
Aaron could only nod as Doctor White entered the room and the others filed out.
“Dad, why did Spencer ask why I was there?” Jack asked as he leaned into his father’s side as they all walked to the elevator. Henry was in Morgan’s arms.
“I don’t know, Jack. Getting hit in the head can cause a lot of problems. Spencer will be back to normal in no time.”
Still the adults were quiet and even the kids got quiet as time went by and Doctor White didn’t arrive. Aaron was almost ready to stand up and check on them when the doctor entered the cafeteria. There was a nurse behind her.
“Agents, this is Mary. She’s one of Doctor Reid’s nurses. She’s going to take Jack and Henry to get a snack and some juice. Then they are going to go to the courtyard and sit until we are done talking. Does that sound alright?”
Aaron tried to keep his breathing under control as he watched Mary take the boys away and Doctor White took Jack’s seat at the table.
“Doctor Reid is getting a few scans right now. I asked him some current events and he seems to remember a great deal of them, as well as some really obscure things from random spots in the country.” She smiled at that and it brought a chuckle from JJ and Morgan but Aaron stayed silent. “I asked him about the night of the mugging and other than knowing he was upset, he remembers nothing.” Doctor White paused and took a deep breath. “There is a condition called Dissociative or Psychogenic Amnesia. It’s really rare and stems from violent crimes. The person generally loses personal memories and autobiographical information. It’s temporary. Now given I don’t know much about Doctor Reid I asked a few questions and it’s rather telling. He told me that Kate on your team is expecting, that Henry likes the pigeons at the zoo and a few other things. Then I asked him about his boyfriend. He looked shocked at that. He told me he didn’t have a boyfriend and that he hadn’t since his third year of working at the BAU. It was a short relationship as the other man couldn’t take his job. Without having someone there who can help me direct questions, I can’t be more specific but it seems that he lost all memories of you and Jack. I tried to probe into Jack as well and he states that he loves to go with Henry to the zoo but no memories of doing anything with Jack alone.”
JJ’s hand was on his shoulder. Aaron tried to let it calm him down.
“What’s the…when is he going to be released?”
“That’s where things get a little iffy. You said he’d been living with you for three years. I asked him where he lived and that’s when he became agitated. He can’t remember. He could remember an apartment but the last memory of the apartment is around the time that someone named Emily came back from the dead. He can’t remember where he lived after that. I don’t know how releasing him to live with someone in a place he doesn’t remember is going to do for his mental health. He’ll need to stay a few days to make sure nothing else is wrong with his brain. I am assuming that the apartment from three years before isn’t an option?”
“No, he moved all the way out. I bought a house for all of us.” Aaron remembered the look on Spencer’s face when he’d asked the young man to move in with him and Jack. Aaron had told him the apartment was too small and then had shown him the house he’d been looking at. It was like the younger man had been given the best gift of his life. It was in the same school district but closer to work for the both of them.
“So he has no memories at all of the relationship or even Jack?”
“From what I can figure out no. He mind is blocking out those memories. I am sure they are buried there in his mind somewhere. I think that he was thinking about the relationship when the mugging happened and his brain is protecting him from the pain of the fight as well as the attack. I overheard you and Agent Morgan yesterday. Doctor Reid is a very smart man and I know that minds like his do not work like a regular person’s’. He could recover those memories two hours from now or two months. They could come in drips and dribbles or all at once. He seems to me like someone who values his mind over everything else in his life. I did a little looking into him before I came down here. I also called and talked to Miss Garcia. She says that his only close family is this team. His mother is at Bennington in Las Vegas, a fine institution. I’m going to have a discussion again with Doctor Reid with a colleague with me and then I would like to sit down with the entire team to make the best decision on what we are going to do if he doesn’t regain his memories before he leaves the hospital.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Aaron said even though he wanted to just run from the hospital. He needed to think. Going from finding out that Spencer was content and happy but not joyous at being in the relationship with him to this. To Spencer having no memory of him and even Jack. Aaron looked up to where Mary was sitting with Jack and Henry in the small courtyard. How was he going to tell Jack that Spencer has no memory of him but he had memories of Henry. His son had never been jealous of Henry, that Spencer spent time away from him with his Godson. Jack was easy going but this…this could cripple him.
“What are the chances of him never getting those memories back?” JJ asked. Aaron hadn’t even thought of that. What if he never got his Spencer back?
“That rarely happens. His brain his protecting him from a traumatic event and unfortunately other memories got locked away as well. I can’t give you a timeline but I can say that he will get them back.” Doctor White touched Aaron’s hand before she stood up. Mary stood as well and ushered the boys back inside. Jack shook her hand as they neared the table and Henry hugged her before she followed the doctor out of the cafeteria.
“Jack, can you come here?” Aaron pulled Jack into his lap. Spencer had made him promise to never lie to him, even if it would be better for him. Spencer hated being lied to.
“Did the doctor lady figure out what’s wrong with Spencer?” Jack asked.
“Yes, buddy she did. His brain got a little more hurt than we all thought that it was. So he’s missing parts of his memory. We don’t really know what all he’s missing but…” Aaron closed his eyes and kissed his son’s head. He was afraid of crying. He didn’t want to do that here. He didn’t want to do it where anyone could see him. What he wanted was to be at home with Spencer curled up in bed. He wasn’t going to get that though. “We know he doesn’t remember you and me, not like we were. He doesn’t remember living with us. He doesn’t remember anything about that.”
“He doesn’t remember your fight with him?” Jack asked.
Aaron snapped his eyes open and stared at Jack. He didn’t think Jack had heard any of that.
“The night he got hurt. You slammed a cabinet door shut in the kitchen and it woke me up. I heard what you said dad.”
JJ and Morgan stood up from their seats and motioned towards the door. He nodded and turned back to his son.
“Jack, I don’t remember everything that I said to Spencer that night.”
“You asked Spencer if we were a…” Jack stopped and seemed to be thinking. “Starter family for him. I don’t know what that is but Spencer got quiet after that. He listened as you yelled at him for a few minutes more then you told him that you needed to be alone and he should give you some space. I heard the front door shut after that and then I rolled over in bed so you couldn’t tell I was awake. I stayed up all night waiting to hear the door open again.”
Aaron pulled Jack close and kissed his head. Had he done that? Had he said that to Spencer? Jack wouldn’t lie to him and those word were not something that he would have picked up elsewhere. A starter family? Had he really said that to him? Aaron let a few tears escape his eyes. Maybe it was a good thing that Spencer didn’t have the memories. Maybe Spencer would be better off not remembering. How did fuck up the relationship so bad and never knew it? Why had Spencer stayed? Why had he moved in with them? His mind supplied the answer. Because anything was better than nothing.
Aaron was to arrive at the hospital the next day. He wanted a few minutes alone with Spencer before the others arrived. He just hoped the younger man was asleep. He had no such luck, Spencer was awake and had seen him before he could backpedal out.
“Hotch?” Spencer questioned. He stopped and smiled.
“Thought you were asleep.”
The look on Spencer’s face told him that the man didn’t believe him but he didn’t say anything.
“MPD just took my statement. Will was with them, he was acting weird. JJ and Morgan were acting weird yesterday and now you. Tell me what’s wrong,” Spencer pleaded.
“I can’t do that Sp…Reid.”
Narrowed eyes stared at him. His slip up hadn’t been missed. Aaron tried to figure out what to say when he heard footsteps behind him.
“Agent Hotchner, I have the others in the waiting room.” Doctor White’s voice carried from behind him.
“I’ll be back later.” Aaron turned and tried not to make it seem like he was running from his partner. Could he still call him that?
The team was gathered in the waiting room along with another doctor. Doctor White introduced him as Doctor Davis, a brain specialist. Aaron listened as he confirmed what Doctor White had thought as well. His brain looked fine. No more swelling no spots that shouldn’t be there. Dissociative Amnesia was the only cause for his loss of memory.
“We have to think about what’s best for Doctor Reid. I understand that you are all profilers with the FBI,” Davis said. The team nodded. “I understand that lying is something Doctor Reid is trained to spot.”
“We can’t lie to him,” JJ said before anyone else could. “We had to once and it…” JJ looked at Aaron. “It wasn’t pretty and it’s something we don’t want to repeat. Doctor White was sure that his memories would come back.”
“They will. The memories are still there. He has no brain injury that would have damaged them. The memories are just locked away. It could take hours, day, week, or even months for them to come back. You are his team, his family. You don’t want to lie to him, that’s fine but will he go to a home with a lover he doesn’t remember? A lover the only memories he has of are as his boss? A child that from his memories he knows in passing?”
“Won’t being around them help with his memories?” JJ asked.
“It can go either way.” Davis shifted in his seat and sighed. “Look, I’ve seen patients go either way on this. I can’t give statistics on it.”
Dave laughed. Aaron wanted to glare at him but he knew what he was laughing at.
“I would also want the fight discussed.”
“Fight?” Garcia asked.
“Spencer and I fought. It was pretty bad but the problem doc is that I was so angry I can’t remember what I told him. My son Jack, he was awake for the later part. The worst part. I only have his words to go on. I agree though. We can’t lie to him.”
“Why don’t we see what he wants?” JJ asked. Everyone in the room looked at her. Aaron was just staring. She swallowed. “Look, no matter what Spence is smarter than all of us. We were able to keep Prentiss’s death from him for what a week after we buried her? Hotch wasn’t able to keep it up with him. There is no way to lie to him about where he is living. So we tell him the truth. We tell him he’s been living with a boyfriend for three years. His apartment is gone. We tell him about the fight and why he was in the park. We leave out names. We let him make the choice. When he makes the decision or he gets into a Reid stubborn mood, whichever comes first, then we tell him who his boyfriend is.”
That was how the entire team found themselves in Spencer’s room. JJ was sitting beside him in the bed. He was no longer hooked up to any machines so there was plenty of room. Garcia and Callahan were sitting at the foot of his bed. Aaron was standing dead center while Dave was beside him. Morgan standing at Spencer’s open side. The doctor’s were not in the room, letting them handle it.
“Why do I feel like I’m in trouble?” Spencer asked. He looked around the room and then sighed. “Wow. Doctor White mentioned a boyfriend and well…I’m not an idiot. I hope that you guys are here to talk to me about that because I don’t like the thought that you all are going to make me live with him. She asked about my apartment and living arrangements and she would only do that if I didn’t live there anymore.”
“Kid, one of these days we are going to have a chat about profiling the room.”
“I’m sitting in a hospital bed after a mugging, Rossi. I seem to have forgotten a pretty big fucking part of my life from the last five years. Of course I am going to get as much information as I can from all of you. I’ve been awake a day now and you guys are keeping…” Spencer stopped and his eyes fell onto the bed where Garcia and Callahan were sitting. “‘Where else would he be?'”
“What?” Garcia asked.
Spencer though was now looking at Aaron. He was studying him. He tried not to fidget.
“Reid, we get that things are frustrating but you have to understand we are all out of our depth here.”
“I know what Dissociative Amnesia is, Morgan. I also know the statistics of how long it takes to get said memories back. I know that whether I go home to wherever I am living with my partner and his son or I go home with someone else on the team, it won’t matter.”
The only thing that Aaron could think was that he knew. He’d repeated Morgan’s question. A side glance told him that Dave had noticed his word choices as well.
“We weren’t going to lie.”
“Just speak around the truth to ascertain how I felt about going home with a stranger and then saying ‘Hey, he’s not a stranger. No, he’s just your boss!'”
Morgan and JJ looked shocked. Garcia was just silent but Callahan was smiling.
“Why don’t we let Aaron and Spencer talk, alone.” Dave ushered them out of the room. Aaron stayed where he was at the foot of the bed. Spencer shifted to sit cross legged. He was in a pair of scrubs not a gown like the day before.
“I couldn’t understand Jack being here but I pushed it out. I figured you were visiting and Jack was keeping Henry entertained. Then you almost called me Spencer this morning before the doctor came. I know what form of amnesia I have. My brain is protecting me from traumatic memories of my mugging, why would it throw our relationship in that as well?”
“We had a pretty big fight. Not our first mind you but our biggest. We really haven’t had a lot over the past year.”
Aaron opened his mouth and then snapped it shut. This wasn’t a place that he wanted to have this conversation. “I’m not telling you that I am not going to answer that. I am just saying I don’t want to talk about it here. It’s private and personal.”
“Doctor White and Davis agreed that I can go home. They were going to keep me longer but I told them that rest wasn’t going to be something I got here. I promised to go home with Morgan if I had nowhere else to go where someone could help watch over me. I am assuming I can go home?”
Swallowing, Aaron could only nod an answer. Spencer smiled.
“Good. By the time you get back with clothes for me then I should be discharged. If you want to pawn Morgan off on me, go ahead. I can handle him.”
“I have no doubt, Spencer. Jessica has Jack at home. If he sees me getting clothes…”
“Oh…umm…” Spencer looked down at the hands clasped in his lap. “I’m not…”
“I’ll call her and have her take him out for the day.”
“I’m sorry, Hotch. I just want sometime to get used to the place. Why doesn’t Jessica drop him back off in time for dinner?”
Aaron stepped around the bed and moved close to him. He hesitated as he reached out but Spencer leaned forward some and so Aaron cupped his cheek. “It’s fine. I’ve been made aware of a pretty big issue in our life and I need to correct it.”
There wasn’t a day that Aaron wouldn’t marvel at Spencer’s ability to use his brain to figure things out.
“You astound me daily, Doctor Reid and I love every single second of it.” He was rewarded with a giant smile on Spencer’s face. Whatever issues were between them were not unfixable. It looked bleak but he would fix them and they would be stronger for them. Spencer was reacting to him like normal. Touch memory and muscle memory.
“Whatever went wrong. Is it fixable, H…Aaron?” Spencer had a weird look on his face as he said Aaron’s name.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
“Hemingway.” Aaron couldn’t help it. He leaned over and kissed his partner’s forehead. Spencer hummed like he did when they were wrapped in bed and Aaron did it. “We can fix everything, Spencer. We just have to actually try.”
Spencer nodded and reached out and cupped Aaron’s cheek. “I don’t remember anything but this…touching you feels right.”
Aaron sighed at the touch but made himself pull away. This wasn’t his Spencer, not really. He needed to have his Spencer back before he got lost in his touch.
Aaron handed over the packet of paperwork that started it all. He watched as Spencer read it over, just once this time. They had been home for a few hours. He’d stayed in the kitchen and allowed Spencer to move around the house. Indoors, outdoors, several trips into the master bedroom. The library that had been the attic was where Spencer had seemed to spend the most time. At first he’d been a little worried but he figured that it was neutral ground.
Spencer was mentally cataloging it all. Everything in the house and how it would fit into his memory, trying to figure out what the issue was. But there was no way for him to do that because Jack wasn’t there. He knew that Jack was the issue he just didn’t know how. Aaron could see it all though. He’d been happy with what they had. He hadn’t let himself see that it wasn’t just Spencer being uncomfortable with parenting Jack it was that he felt he didn’t have a right and didn’t want to step on Haley’s memory.
“But Jack has two parents. Why would you want me to adopt him?” Spencer asked and Aaron was a little shocked. Aaron hated that even knowing that he’d been with him for five years and they had been living together for three that he couldn’t even grasp the concept that Aaron wanted him to adopt Jack. Up until Aaron had brought up the papers, Spencer hadn’t ever thought he’d be given a place in Jack’s life more than just his father’s partner.
It made him think of his relationship with Haley. He’d been happy with that they had and it had been a slap in the face to find out during the divorce that she’d never wanted him to take the FBI position. She’s wanted him to stay a lawyer. He knew he was going to have to do better but Spencer had to start speaking up. They were both profilers but all that meant was that they knew how to hide things from each other.
“Haley will always be his mother but he wants this. He wants the safety of knowing that you do want him. He loves you and I know that you love him. There are practical reasons why I want you to adopt him. There is every bit a chance that I could be hurt and unable to take care of him and you would need to step up. This makes it so that a hospital can’t refuse you the right to see him. You don’t remember it but Spencer, you’ve kept a part of yourself back from him and that’s my fault. I let you pick what you wanted in your life with him. I never pushed for anything more. I didn’t even see it until I was talking to Morgan. I saw that you were here and that was all that mattered. I didn’t see that it wasn’t so much that you didn’t want to be in his life like that but that you were afraid that it would be denied to you. If you don’t think you can ever have it, you can’t miss it right?”
“I don’t know.” Spencer looked away from him. He dropped his eyes back onto the papers.
“I know.” Aaron sat down on the coffee table in front of Spencer and took the papers from him, taking Spencer’s focus from them to him. “If you want the master bedroom, I’ll set my things up in the guest room.”
“No. I don’t think that I want to be in there with no memories. I look around it and I only see blanks in my memory where things should go. The guest room isn’t going to be as bad. So what exactly was the fight about?”
“I gave you those papers and you didn’t react the way that I wanted and I got angry. I can’t remember every single thing that I said but I wasn’t just angry at you. I was angry at myself because it meant that I wasn’t seeing the truth of our life. I know that you don’t have a single memory of the fight and I don’t have too many either. Jack said that I called him and I your starter family.”
“Like a starter house? Wife?”
“I have to assume that was what I meant. I know that we aren’t. You wouldn’t ever do that to Jack and you wouldn’t do that to me. Can you accept that?”
“Accept that my boss is in love with me? That I live with him? That I’ve been living here for three years and we, I assume, are intimate?” Spencer’s gaze was locked on Aaron’s eyes and he couldn’t look away so he just barely nodded. “I can. I see it. I know that you know that I profiled the house. There is every bit as much of me in here as there is you. I can’t ever see a point in time where you and the whole team would set up a house to mess with me. I can’t see a reason why.”
“You are very good at just going with the flow. It’s always had me a little upset but I know where it comes from and that’s something that I feel like you never should have learned at such a young age. So I want a promise from you. From here until you get your memory back, I want you to make sure that I know what you need, what you want. Do you think you can do that?”
“I can try.”
“That’s all I ask.” Aaron smiled at him and the younger man smiled back. It was a start.
Spencer was sitting on the counter at the edge of the stove. The next day he was back to work. The Bureau psychologist had approved Spencer to be allowed back on the team on a case by case basis. Jack was a little upset that he didn’t get to stay longer before going back to work but he understood. Aaron had only been given a week off to take care of him after the mugging but he’d been home with Jack for the past three weeks.
“So is the team happy to have me coming back?”
“JJ and Morgan are really happy. Callahan misses your facts on her pregnancy. Dave is missing your help on his newest novel. Garcia misses her G-Man.”
Spencer smiled and leaned forward to brush his fingers down the side of Aaron’s arm. Aaron wanted to react by pulling him in for a kiss but they hadn’t done that. The younger man would sit next to him on the couch when they watched a movie with Jack and the night before he’d fallen asleep and curled into him but it was all unconscious reactions. This was the first overt.
“You stop yourself. Why?” Spencer asked.
“I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“I remembered something last night.” Spencer reached out and turned off the sauce. The water wasn’t boiling for the pasta yet so Aaron didn’t say anything. He was shocked by the fingers that closed around his wrist and pulled him close. The captured hand raised up to the younger man’s cheek. “I remember feeling like crap, sick in bed. Jack had given me the bug he caught at school.” Aaron moved his hand up farther into Spencer’s hair and let his fingertips scratch lightly at his scalp. Spencer relaxed into his hand.
“You had five blankets on yourself and were still shivering. I rubbed your head as you had a headache.” Aaron rubbed at the younger man’s head the way he liked.
“Jack made chicken noodle soup for dinner, feeling bad for making me sick. We cuddled in bed as we ate dinner. You let him stay home from school the next day because he was worried about me.” Spencer pulled Aaron a step closer and rested his head on his shoulder.
“It was just a few weeks after you moved in. He was afraid that getting you sick would upset you and you would leave.”
“He waited on me hand and foot, no matter how much I begged him not to. He stopped when I was back to full health. I remembered it when you rubbed at my head last night. I remembered more when I woke up. You keep stopping yourself and you need to stop. I don’t remember much but I remember more in the unguarded moments. The touch of your hands. The beard burn on my thighs when you got back from Pakistan before you shaved it.” The memories flashed through Aaron’s mind. Especially the last one. He’d been back two days before Doyle had been found. He’d connected with Jack and Spencer before Jack had passed out. With him asleep, Aaron and Spencer had reconnected in bed. All night long.
“Spencer, please.” Aaron didn’t want to do anything he would regret. “Don’t.”
“I just want you to realize that you need to stop stopping yourself.”
Aaron sighed as he stepped into the house. Spencer’s car was already in the driveway. He’d stayed late for meetings that been pushed back for weeks due to cases. It had been hectic since Spencer had come back to the team three weeks before. It was later than he wanted to come home but it was what it was. Jack should be in bed and there was every chance that Spencer was as well.
The light in the living room told him that someone was up. He set down his keys on the table where the dish was. His briefcase was set beside the bowl. He wasn’t going to be using it but he hated to leave it in the car. What he found in the living room had him stopping. Spencer was stretched out on the overwide couch. A book propped on his chest like he had been reading. It was lax in his hand, he’d fallen asleep not long before. Jack was laying between him and the back of the couch on his side. His head on Spencer’s arm. The only jarring thing was the evidence of medical care on the coffee table. Sitting in an open grocery bag was paper towels and gauze covered in blood. He looked both males up and down and finally noticed the stark white gauze on Jack’s arm. Only a little peeked out of the cuff of his long sleeve shirt.
Aaron moved on silent feet into the room and started to clean up the mess. There was a note on the coffee table that was reminding Spencer to ask him about a tetanus shot for Jack as well as cleaning up the small bit of wood at the back of the property. That was where Jack must have hurt himself. The note was more telling than anything. Something like that, Spencer would never forget but he was so worried that he would. Aaron picked up the pen and wrote that Jack had a tetanus when he started soccer and he wasn’t due for a booster for three years at the minimum and that the first day off they had they can clean up the back.
The couch was comfortable, he and Spencer had fallen asleep on it a few times after hard cases. So Aaron carefully extracted the book from Spencer’s fingers, setting it in sight before he removed the genius’s glasses. Next he covered them both up. Spencer didn’t have many memories back but he was trying. He was trying so hard to fix a relationship that he didn’t even remember what was wrong in it. When the amnesia had been found to be as extensive as it was, Aaron had figured that he and Jack would be alone until the memory came back and then it would be an uphill battle to fix what had been festering since before the fight. Aaron had guilt but he was trying so hard to fix things that Spencer couldn’t remember, but he was just happy to have him here.
Spencer was trying with Jack more. The homework help had always been there. The love wasn’t as evident but this Spencer hadn’t had five years of building up that love. What he knew was all snatches of broken memories. He hesitated in the same places that Spencer used to with all his memories. It wasn’t just what Aaron had done. There was something in Spencer that they were both going to have to fight to be what Jack needed him to be. The mugging and the memory loss were horrible but it might have been a blessing in disguise. A way for them to start over without the walls that Spencer had built over the years of living with them and not being a parent to Jack. Of just being the lover, the partner.
Jack was trying as well. To show Spencer that he wanted him there. He bounced between going to Aaron and the younger man with things that he wanted to do. Aaron had been shocked when Spencer had looked at Aaron the first few times with a deer in the headlights look but had answered yes or no to what the boy wanted. Yes to going to the park, no to the sleepover at an older classmates house that was boy and girl.
Their little family was healing and becoming stronger. All they needed to be fully complete was Spencer to get back a little more of his memories.
The creak of the door to his bedroom had Aaron sitting up in bed. It had been a long time since Jack had come to share a bed with him. The nightmares were mostly gone, having been triggered by Spencer’s mugging. He was reaching for the bedside lamp when the sound of the feet on his floor registered that it wasn’t Jack. There was no way it was Jack so it had to be Spencer. He didn’t turn the light on but waited instead.
Spencer stopped halfway to the bed. The room was pretty dark but there was enough moonlight that Aaron could see that he was staring at the bed. A quick look at the clock told him it was after two in the morning. Spencer had gone to bed around eight. It had been early but he knew that the younger man hadn’t got a lot of sleep on the case. His brain hadn’t been able to settle down as the UnSub was leaving mathematical equations with each body that were taking him a few hours to crack. It wasn’t until the fifth in a single day that he’d been able to figure out the pattern of the equations to actually get one cracked before the next victim was killed. The bad thing was that the equations hadn’t entered the MO of the UnSub until after they had been there a few days and he’d already killed fifteen people. Another four had died before Spencer had cracked them.
“Come on,” Aaron said as he laid down and lifted the edge of the blanket so that Spencer could lay down. The younger man near ran to the bed and dove under the covers. He tried to settle at the edge of the bed but Aaron wasn’t going to have any of that. He looped an arm around his middle and pulled on him. He knew what Spencer’s body wanted even if his mind didn’t remember. “Shh.”
“I can’t stop thinking. I keep…”
“Shh,” Aaron said again before he started to rub at Spencer’s hip. He slid his other arm under his head and wrapped that arm up and around his chest. “Shh. Listen to my breathing. Match your own to mine.”
Spencer settled down and started to breath in time to him. Once he was deep asleep nearly ten minutes later, Aaron reached over and set the alarm for later in the morning. They had the weekend off so waking up late wouldn’t be an issue. He also wasn’t sure how long it was going to take for him to get to sleep.
An hour later, Spencer rolled over, burying his face in Aaron’s neck. He couldn’t resist kissing the side of his head finally allowing himself to fall asleep.
Over the next two weeks, Aaron went to sleep at night alone in bed but woke up with Spencer in bed with him more nights than not. He had tried to hide what having him in bed with him caused in his body but the morning that he woke up with his cock nestled right between Spencer’s ass cheeks, there was no way to hide it anymore. Spencer had told him it was fine. He sincerely hoped that Spencer’s memory came back all the way soon. His left hand was getting tired.
Aaron could never deny Spencer a thing. So when he woke up in bed with Spencer straddling him, Aaron wasn’t sure what the correct response should be. Shoving him off would be wrong because it would tell Spencer that something was wrong but allowing him to continue this when his memory was off. The months of living with a Spencer who only had memories of small things of their life together had been horrible but he’d do it just to keep him where he belonged. With him and Jack.
Finding his partner naked with an erection, threw him for a loop. “Spencer?” Aaron kept his hands down on the bed at his sides. Spencer wasn’t moving.
“I dreamed of you touching me. Your hands tracing my body and then tongue. Whispered words of love across my skin. It felt so real.” Spencer leaned down and kissed him. Aaron moaned at the feel of his tongue tracing his lips and opened to let it slide inside. This he could do. Settling one hand on hip, Aaron let his other tangle with Spencer’s hair to hold him in place. Spencer started thrusting against him. They only stopped kissing long enough for Aaron to kick off his boxers before their mouths were on each other again. He held his lover close as they rocked together.
It wasn’t enough. Aaron rolled them easy enough. Spencer was laying on his back with his legs spread wide and him in between them. He was staring up with lust blown eyes and Aaron thought that he had never seen a sight so beautiful. Spencer pulled him back down. A lithe leg wrapped around his thigh and Spencer thrust up. Aaron grabbed wandering hands and held them above the younger man’s head. He may not remember what they had found he liked but Aaron did and he was going to give it to him.
“Is this what you want?” Aaron asked as he thrust up harder.
Spencer moaned and threw his head back. He was panting and Aaron knew he was close. It wouldn’t take much to tip him over. Shifting both of Spencer’s hands to one of his, Aaron forced Spencer to look at him. Once he was sure he had the younger man’s attention he trailed his hand down his body and slid it to where his thigh met hip, just the barely there ghosting of his fingers had Spencer gasping.
“I know your body like the back of my hand.” Aaron released the hands he held and dropped to to where his elbow and forearm was supporting him. Spencer’s eyes were locked on his. Their faces just an inch apart. “I can make it sing in pleasure or writhe in pain. I can make you laugh or cry.”
“Please, Aaron. God, please.” Spencer gasped out the words and his eyes went unfocused.
Aaron nuzzled at Spencer’s ear before he spoke. “What do you want?”
“Claim me. Mark me. Make me yours.” With those simple words, Aaron gasped and came with a hard thrust. Spencer bucked up once and then inhaled as he came as well. It took everything he had not to fall on top of his lover.
Spencer had said those exact words the first time they’d had sex after declaring their love for each other.
“I do. I woke up with all my memories back. I just…I had to know that you would still…If I never got them back.” Spencer admitting that meant that he must have been thinking about it for a while.
“What time is it?”
“Three thirteen. We can go back to sleep.”
“No. I have you here and there’s no escape for you.” Aaron rolled to his side, pulling Spencer to where he was on his side as well, facing him. He ignored the mess on their stomachs and groins.
“Aaron, you don’t…” Spencer tried to talk but Aaron covered his mouth.
“I need to talk and you need to listen. I promised myself that I would let you talk but I need to say a few things first. I know that we are not a starter family. I don’t know what got into me that night and I regret everything I said, what I remember and what I don’t. I may have called you Jack’s other father in my mind but I never did a thing to show you I thought that way. I’ve spent so much time going over everything. Every single interaction. Jack listens to you exactly like he does me. He wants to call you Papa.” Aaron paused and let those words sink into Spencer’s mind. He saw the tears start to gather and leaned down to kiss them away. “I should have led with that. Starting with the papers was just…I was excited. I moved you into the house and we discussed finances and everything except Jack. Of course you are going to think that I don’t want you to parent him.”
Aaron removed his hand and Spencer took a breath and opened his mouth again. He glared at his younger lover. Spencer snapped his jaw shut and pouted.
“Morgan was a little more free with his words than I am sure that you are going to like but it helped, Spence. He understands you sometimes better than I do and isn’t that just a kick in the gut. You learned at a young age not to rock the boat. To take what you can get and not complain. I need a promise from you, Spencer.” Aaron waited for Spencer’s nod before he went on. “No more settling for less than what you really want. If I am not giving you what you need or what you want, you have to tell me. I’ll never deny you anything as long as it’s in my power to give it. Having you in Jack’s life is not going to make him forget Haley. You have her memories stored in your brain. You have the stories I’ve told locked in there as well. As much as I try, she does slip away from me more and more but you learn her stories and you tell him. You keep her memory alive for him more than I can sometimes. He loves you for being you. He loves Spencer Reid for being Spencer Reid. Loving you doesn’t mean he loves her less.”
Tears were streaming down Spencer’s face now and all he did was bury his face in Aaron’s shoulder. He rolled to his back, pulling Spencer on top of him.
“I promise,” Spencer said in between gasping breaths. “And when we get up in the morning, I’ll sign the papers if Jack still wants me to. I’m going to ask him though.”
“Of course. Now I better get us cleaned up.” Aaron tipped Spencer’s face up for a kiss and then the younger man rolled off him. As Aaron sat up he looked down at him. “Are you going to sleep in here tonight?”
“Yes. Tonight and every night after.”